Questions and Answers on Stun Belts

Who uses stun belts, and why?

Remote-control stun belts are used by law enforcement in the United States for restraint of prisoners in various situations, including courtroom appearances and transportation. Usage varies at the local level; some states or localities ban or restrict their use (including LA county for now, though the restriction is being appealed). Besides in the USA, stun belts are known to be used in South Africa.
How powerful are they?
According to specifications, one activation delivers 50,000 Volts for 8 seconds, at a current of 3 to 4 milliamperes, pulsed at 17 to 22 pulses per second.
... what do those numbers mean?
Extreme pain! Occasionally, law-enforcement officers have been shocked as part of training, and themselves describe it as if "you had nine-inch nails and you tried to rip my sides out and then you put a heat lamp on me" and "it felt like every muscle in my body short-circuited at the same time." Victims commonly fall to the ground in pain, and sometimes lose consciousness and lose control of bodily functions, including urination and defecation.
How safe are they?
For normal, healthy persons, they cause no permanent physical damage. However, if the victim is suffering from a heart condition or is otherwise in poor health, injury or even death may result. A problem here is the fact that use of these devices is hard to control. There have been several cases of accidental discharge.
Why does Amnesty International consider their use a form of torture?
Torture is the infliction of intense pain, for whatever purpose, and these devices clearly qualify. In fact, they cause not only physical pain, but mental suffering, since the victim is in constant fear of a severe shock being administered.
What are Amnesty International's recommendations?
Their use, manufacture and distribution (both domestically and for export) should be banned, in favor of the existing effective and humane alternatives. Electro-shock weapons in general should be banned, pending an independent and rigorous study of their effects and inquiry into all known deaths related to their use.
How can I get more information?
Amnesty International's Report
Technical Details from the Manufacturer

Amnesty International USA Group 22, Pasadena, California